Christina Danosi '13 publishes study of Samoan flying foxes

Christina Danosi '13, a modified Anthropology-Biological Sciences major, has published the results of her reading and research courses, Anthropology 85 and 87. Christina spent two quarters in 2012-2013 working with Amanda Melin - who was then a postdoctoral fellow, and is now an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis - and Associate Professor Nathaniel Dominy. Their study, which is published in the Journal of Comparative Physiology A (link), reports on the color vision (opsin) genes of Samoan flying foxes (Pteropus samoensis), a bat species with an anomalous proclivity for diurnal soaring and foraging. The discrimination of ripe fruit in a forest canopy under diurnal conditions is widely thought to favor trichromatic vision, but Christina found that P. samoensis is uniformly dichromatic, i.e., red-green colorblind. Such a finding fails to support a causal link between diurnal frugivory and trichromatic color vision, suggesting that the independent origins of primate trichromatic vision were qualitatively unique events during mammalian evolution.

Christina is presently enrolled in the MBS/MBA dual-degree program at Tufts University School of Medicine. Click here to access the publication at Journal of Comparative Physiology A.